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Aug 12 2009

Secular Student Alliance Conference!

Yes, I just can’t stop posting! Or as PZ said, “I think the blogathon has permanently warped her brain.

After our trip to the Creation Museum, we drove north to Columbus, OH for the Secular Student Alliance conference. Passed two signs that each had five of the Ten Commandments (I think Mark was waiting for a third sign to appear), and stopped in a rural gas station totally forgetting I had atheist buttons and stickers all over me. Whoopsie. I already mentioned how when we were checking into the dorms we watched part of an episode of Wife Swap featuring an atheist and evangelical family with PZ, which was good fun. Oh, and the fact that PZ’s dorm room was directly across from ours. Weeeeeee.There were a lot of great talks at the conference, covering activism, basic club running, volunteering, cooperation with other groups, and just some silliness. I met a lot of great people who I knew of but I had never personally met – Jesse Galef, who works for the Secular Coaltion for America and sometimes posts at Friendly Atheist; Debbie Goddard from the Center for Inquiry, who helped bring Eddie Tabash to Purdue last year; Lyz Liddel, the SSA’s Senior Campus Organizer, who has helped our club so much and delt with thousands of my emails; Ashley Paramore, who video blogs as healthyaddict; Jon Sussman, who I talked to for various SSA things and who made a big list of topics for me for my blogathon…and I’m probably forgetting people, so I apologize. I also met a lot of cool people from Indiana, and I really want to try to organize some state wide freethinker event.

The talks were excellent, but I don’t want to talk about them too much since they’ll be online soonish, and then I’ll link you to my favorite ones. And I’m totally burnt out from all those other posts, heh.

Some highlights:

- Meeting people who read my blog! It was very cool and weird having people saying “Oh, you’re the Blag Hag!” (which, in retrospect, was an unfortunate name choice). If I looked freaked out I promise I wasn’t – I’m just sort of socially awkward and not used to this whole random-people-knowing-me thing yet. Hi everyone!!
- Someone asked me for my first autograph! A student had PZ, Hemant, Ashley and me sign two Creation Museum tickets, and they’re going to try and auction them on eBay so they can start a club at their university! Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure my signature just devalued them…
- Jon Weyer, a Christian minister who gave a wonderful talk about cooperating with religious groups, had a little contest where the first six people who could name what PZ and Ken Ham were riding in my comic would get a free book! Seeing all the people who ran up there was very cool. I then shunned one of my close friends because he got it wrong. Boo.

- They used my I Squid Cephalopods design for some of the signs!
Photo by evodevo_mike
- My group of Purdue people and Hemant went to Buffalo Wild Wings for some much needed relaxation…and after spending the day in the Creation Museum, I had a MUCH needed giant glass of beer. Mmmm Blue Moon. Oh, and being outnumbered by math geeks at the table was interesting…
- PZ actually remembered my name, which I did a little internal fangirl flail about.
- PZ also said he reads all of his comments on his blog, which I find absolutely amazing. Oh, and just so you know, I do too – I get so excited when I get emailed about a new comment.
- Playing freethought trivia games. Sadly I could recite the Chinese zodiac, yet couldn’t name more than four of the last ten US Vice Presidents. Ultimate failure. I could practically feel my history teacher father’s scorn from miles away.
- Watching people play “throw the atom bombs in the volcano to blow up the Thetans” while wearing Xenu crowns:- Saturday night had incredible fun socializing and PZ actually attended, and I’m pretty sure I can’t say much more than that (but Jesse already said it involved Captain Morgan, so draw your own conclusions). Multiple male students commented on my boobs, so I’m pretty sure they weren’t listening to Hemant’s atheist dating advice.
- A group of us decided that a required session for next year’s conference should be a “sexy lingerie party.” Still trying to convince people about that one.
- Collecting way too much atheist flair (plus a FSM one which you can’t see in this photo):- Listening to George Carlin for three hours on the drive home.

And I may not have gotten to ride the Triceratops at the Creation Museum…but I got something even better (click for larger):Photo by Gus Brunsman
The whole conference making Cthulhu faces! Though no, we didn’t all transform into Cuttlefish. I guess PZ wasn’t trying hard enough.

As long as I can travel there, definitely looking forward to going to the conference again next year! It was super fun and got me totally motivated for this upcoming school year. Now, time for me to go plan club events!

47 comments

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  1. 1
    Thom Blake

    Sounds like a good way to get your sanity back after the horrible museum.

  2. 2
    Thom Blake

    Sounds like a good way to get your sanity back after the horrible museum.

  3. 3
    Blue Ladybird Shell

    Having been part of a struggling student atheist society in the UK, it would be great if events like these were replicated over here!

  4. 4
    Lisa

    Having been part of a struggling student atheist society in the UK, it would be great if events like these were replicated over here!

  5. 5
    Anonymous

    Silver FoX:

    "PZ's dorm room was directly across from ours. Weeeeeee."

    "PZ actually remembered my name, which I did a little internal fangirl flail about."

    "- Saturday night had incredible fun socializing and PZ actually attended,"

    A fifty odd year old assistant professor from a community college in Minnesota.

    WOW! It doesn't much to impress you.

  6. 6
    Anonymous

    Silver FoX:”PZ’s dorm room was directly across from ours. Weeeeeee.” “PZ actually remembered my name, which I did a little internal fangirl flail about.””- Saturday night had incredible fun socializing and PZ actually attended,”A fifty odd year old assistant professor from a community college in Minnesota.WOW! It doesn’t much to impress you.

  7. 7
    Jen

    He's my favorite blogger who I greatly respect, effectively an "internet celebrity" to me. I was just as excited the first time I met Hemant and various biology professors at conferences. You don't have to share my excitement.

  8. 8
    Jen

    He’s my favorite blogger who I greatly respect, effectively an “internet celebrity” to me. I was just as excited the first time I met Hemant and various biology professors at conferences. You don’t have to share my excitement.

  9. 9
    Veritas

    Looks like the conference was great fun. And ignore those who say that you aren't easily impressed. PZ is awesome and I'd do a little freakout to meet him.

    Not as big as I'd freak out for Stephen Colbert. But up there.

  10. 10
    Veritas

    Looks like the conference was great fun. And ignore those who say that you aren’t easily impressed. PZ is awesome and I’d do a little freakout to meet him.Not as big as I’d freak out for Stephen Colbert. But up there.

  11. 11
    Veritas

    Yeah, Jen. Is that Silver Fox? Based on previous experience, he's a cockbite anyway. So…yeah.

    Well, I'm back to beer and Bruce Campbell for now.

  12. 12
    Veritas

    Yeah, Jen. Is that Silver Fox? Based on previous experience, he’s a cockbite anyway. So…yeah.Well, I’m back to beer and Bruce Campbell for now.

  13. 13
    TheSlat

    The whole conference making Cthulhu faces.. minus one really oblivious guy up front! Made me laugh I don't know why.

    I wanted to say thanks for the awesome 9 part post about the Museum tour. I wanted to make the trip but it's a long drive from NC. Instead I got to spend the day in the Atlanta airport on a ridiculously long layover reading dispatches from the front.

  14. 14
    TheSlat

    The whole conference making Cthulhu faces.. minus one really oblivious guy up front! Made me laugh I don’t know why. I wanted to say thanks for the awesome 9 part post about the Museum tour. I wanted to make the trip but it’s a long drive from NC. Instead I got to spend the day in the Atlanta airport on a ridiculously long layover reading dispatches from the front.

  15. 15
    Dan!

    //I was just as excited the first time I met Hemant and various biology professors at conferences. You don't have to share my excitement//

    Yeah, I was like a little giddy little girl meeting E.O. Wilson. It took me like a minute to fumble through 3 sentences on my research.

  16. 16
    Dan!

    //I was just as excited the first time I met Hemant and various biology professors at conferences. You don’t have to share my excitement//Yeah, I was like a little giddy little girl meeting E.O. Wilson. It took me like a minute to fumble through 3 sentences on my research.

  17. 17
    Dan!

    By the way, 10 posts just on last weekend? You are a champ. I haven't even finished one yet (what thesis?) and I'm planning on posting 3

  18. 18
    Dan!

    By the way, 10 posts just on last weekend? You are a champ. I haven’t even finished one yet (what thesis?) and I’m planning on posting 3

  19. 19
    Anonymous

    I didn't actually tell you this while at the "museum," but I was thinking BOOBS every time I caught a glimpse of you.

    I blame you for this, of course, since you mentioned superboobs when posting about your shirt choice. It's sort of like telling someone to *not* think of a pink T. Rex…

  20. 20
    Anonymous

    I didn’t actually tell you this while at the “museum,” but I was thinking BOOBS every time I caught a glimpse of you.I blame you for this, of course, since you mentioned superboobs when posting about your shirt choice. It’s sort of like telling someone to *not* think of a pink T. Rex…

  21. 21
    nani

    pretty impressive that PZ reads every comment he gets. that's a lot of reading even by my standards, and i'm a fairly fast reader.

  22. 22
    nani

    pretty impressive that PZ reads every comment he gets. that’s a lot of reading even by my standards, and i’m a fairly fast reader.

  23. 23
    jeffreywithaj

    SF you left out the part of him being a national voice for humanist and skeptics. You also forgot his extremely popular blog (the average readership for a blog is less than 1 according to a google reader study, so… yea.) He not only manages to make multiple blog entries a day (that contain actual substance) but in addition to that teaches, attends speaking engagements, and I'm sure a lot more.

    He is impressive.

    You, however, troll blogs on the internet. Not impressive.

  24. 24
    jeffreywithaj

    SF you left out the part of him being a national voice for humanist and skeptics. You also forgot his extremely popular blog (the average readership for a blog is less than 1 according to a google reader study, so… yea.) He not only manages to make multiple blog entries a day (that contain actual substance) but in addition to that teaches, attends speaking engagements, and I’m sure a lot more.He is impressive.You, however, troll blogs on the internet. Not impressive.

  25. 25
    Veritas

    The only one I can't remember is the man who was VP under Gerry Ford. Beyond that, the last ten…not so hard. Biden, Cheney, Gore, Quayle, Bush, whoever, Ford, Agnew, Humphrey, Johnson, Nixon.

  26. 26
    Veritas

    The only one I can’t remember is the man who was VP under Gerry Ford. Beyond that, the last ten…not so hard. Biden, Cheney, Gore, Quayle, Bush, whoever, Ford, Agnew, Humphrey, Johnson, Nixon.

  27. 27
    Phil

    Looks like fun. Too bad I live in California.

  28. 28
    Phil

    Looks like fun. Too bad I live in California.

  29. 29
    Sili

    I usually claim I'm an arse-guy, but I guess I'm just lying since I get distracted (and embarrassed) by boobs, too.

    Then again, I'm not good with women of the opposite sex. Unless by "good" one understands "manages to make them uncomfortable enough to want to end a two-year friendship".

    Enough sharing – just felt a need to play "trump the perverts".

    Sounds to have been a resounding success.

    As for sexy lingerie, I'm not sure what's so great about boxers – it depends far more on what guy you get to wear the stuff.

  30. 30
    Sili

    I usually claim I’m an arse-guy, but I guess I’m just lying since I get distracted (and embarrassed) by boobs, too.Then again, I’m not good with women of the opposite sex. Unless by “good” one understands “manages to make them uncomfortable enough to want to end a two-year friendship”.Enough sharing – just felt a need to play “trump the perverts”.Sounds to have been a resounding success.As for sexy lingerie, I’m not sure what’s so great about boxers – it depends far more on what guy you get to wear the stuff.

  31. 31
    Veritas

    What about women of the same sex?

  32. 32
    Veritas

    What about women of the same sex?

  33. 33
    Sili

    Never met one I wanted hard enough. Yet, at least – I'm not adverse to the idea.

  34. 34
    Sili

    Never met one I wanted hard enough. Yet, at least – I’m not adverse to the idea.

  35. 35
    Senseinai

    Who will be offering the conference blessing ;-)

  36. 36
    OSUChemE

    Didn’t realize there would be an event for non-members. I might have to stop by since I’m within walking distance.

  37. 37
    Jacob Diemer

    I’ll be at the zoo! Might be going to Greta’s talk, not sure yet

  38. 38
    LS

    Any possibility of getting a video of said presentation? I really enjoyed the last talk video you posted.

  39. 39
    Stephan Goodwin

    I’ll be at the zoo and for as much stuff as I can find the time for. Quite excited really. I’ll be wearing my blag hag swag for the zoo trip…seems appropriate.

  40. 40
    Hemant

    Everything will be videotaped and put on YouTube!

  41. 41
    MolecularFossils

    I can’t make it this year, but there should be some other Kent Staters to represent. Have fun! I can’t wait to hear ALLLL about it.

  42. 42
    Joel Klinepeter

    I wish my work schedule didn’t prevent me from coming again this year. Last year was such a good time between kick ass speakers, awesome people, and the fact that I can’t remember the last time I got that drunk…Every now and then it hits me again that I had lunch with Dan Barker, drank beer around a coffee table with PZ Myers, and of course the last day of the conference enjoyed a meal with the inimitable Jen McCreight herself :p.

  43. 43
    hippiefemme

    I am so excited for this! I hope I get the chance to meet you and maybe get a quick photo before you’re whisked away by some more important event.

  44. 44
    Mike Brownstein

    I think some kind of community service project would have been cool too!

  45. 45
    Coltara Cady

    What could there be to dislike?! Even running around in a torrent of rain to have breakfast with Ellery didn’t bother me I was so stoked. I know Mark probably wasn’t too happy about the Red Hots, though – told that story when Lyz took the two of us to a nice little cafe on the way to dropping me off at the airport on Monday. Poor Mark! I hope his eyes are doing better now.I really like all your suggestions, plus Mike’s – that “one more day” or just the “field trip” could make an awesome time for a community service project. Anyways, keep rocking your Blogathon posts! This is fun.

  46. 46
    Peter Madsen

    >>”Aw, I just have a high King.” “…Jen, you have a flush.” “…Yay!” “I’ll proudly admit to being “that annoying person,” too.And you’ve got to post a video. You can’t just tease us with safe-sex orgies with burning effigies and leave us hanging!

  47. 47
    the_Siliconopolitan

    Well, it’s not our fault your back is sexier than your boobs.

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